Social Issue Of Teen Pregnancy Of Black Women
Stigmas and stereotypes aim at Black teen moms is deeply rooted in racism and society’s need to uphold racist standards. During slavery Black women were seen as fast, unethical and hostile. This depiction provides justification for the physical and sexual violence perpetrated against them. The stigma of Black women being promiscuous continued through the generation, young slave girls were sexually abused by their slave owners forcing young girls to have their children.
Throughout the nineteenth and twentieth century the negative view of Black women continued thus they were seen as sinful. Stereotype of Black women as fast, sex addicts is associated to the history of oppression experienced by these women.
During slavery there were various stereotypes associated with Black women – “The Jezebel”, “gold digger” and recently in history “welfare queens”. According to Rosenthal and Lobel “The Jezebel” were viewed as unethically loose women, willing to open their legs to anybody. In the late 1970s and early 1980s the stigma of Black women being “welfare queen” became part of America’s culture. “Welfare queen”, uneducated Black women who has many children with different man and take advantage of public assistance. The rise of teen pregnancy and the belief that these young girls were “ welfare queens” in training provided that by the late 1980s, Black teen girls became the scapegoat for the ethical decline of America’s society. In the early 1960’s the phrase “teen pregnancy” surface, however it was not until the late 1970’s the term became popular. Many view teen pregnancy as a societal issue stemmed from the lack of education, reliance on welfare and low wages. Teen mothers are seen as ethically accountable for their flaws, they are condemned for the pregnancy resulting from sexual practices consider to be adult only. According to Geronimus the high visualization of teen pregnancy and the increase rates of pregnancy among Black girls aid the dominant group in spreading governmental power by asserting teens having children has catastrophic repercussions. According to Breheny and Stephens the reason is because the attribution of an adolescent is not compatible with aspects of what is considered a good mother.
Over the years policy-makers and society has treated teenage motherhood as a problem to be fixed. In society’s debate this problem is seen as a deviant life path that needs to be stigmatized. Studies indicate stigma of teen pregnancy is only brought into discussion by systems of power when the dominant group intersects with the concept. Compare to their White counterpart, Black and Latino girls are twice more likely to have a child as an adolescent. Due to the increase development of mass media, it has become a platform used by the United States to increasingly perpetuate societal stigmas about marginalized groups. Thus marginalized groups are in danger of being blamed for the social issue of teen pregnancy from the dominant group.
Cultural racism is one of the frames in color- blind racism that is depend on culture to account for the status of marginalized groups in society. Cultural racisms is deeply rooted in American society, in the 1960s it was described as “culture of poverty”. The frame is visible in American society through the belief that if marginalized groups try harder and adopt the dominant values they would be more successful. The limitation with this thinking is the dominant group is either ignorant or tends to ignore the systems of oppression in place throughout the different domains of society to keep marginalized groups in their place. This belief is validating by the few African- Americans in society who were able to attain high level of socioeconomic status in spite of the system of oppressions.
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